India vs England: If England get Virat Kohli early, it will hit India hard - Graham Gooch | cricket | Hindustan Times
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India vs England: If England get Virat Kohli early, it will hit India hard - Graham Gooch

Virat Kohli is skilled to handle conditions and won’t miss Surrey stint ahead of the England Test series, believes former opener Graham Gooch.

cricket Updated: Jul 29, 2018 09:22 IST
N Ananthanarayanan
N Ananthanarayanan
Hindustan Times, Chelmsford
India vs England,Virat Kohli,Graham Gooch
Virat Kohli will be key to India’s success against England in the upcoming five-match Test series.(AP)

Graham Gooch has handed India their low moments more than once. In the 1990 Lord’s Test, the opening batsman was grassed on 33 by wicketkeeper Kiran More and went on to score a career-best 333. He hit a century in the second innings as well as England won.

The former England skipper, who took the team to back-to-back World Cup finals – he swept India out of the 1987 World Cup in the semis – believes India will fare better than in 2014 due to the dry summer and felt captaincy will inspire Virat Kohli, who is looking to atone for 2014.

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The 65-year-old England great criticised leg-spinner Adil Rashid’s national selection despite his giving up red-ball cricket for Yorkshire, but said he must be the first choice spinner for the selection to make sense, in a chat during India’s warm-up game against Essex.

Excerpts:

All talk in England is about Adil Rashid?

It’s not unusual to pick two spinners for a series. Whether they play two or not would depend on conditions. I believe (his selection) is unusual since he opted not to play red-ball cricket. I don’t think it sends the best of message to the rest of our domestic system.

Was Adil picked due to this weather?

The selectors think he is our best spinner in terms of trying to win the match. I don’t blame them. But I don’t think it sends a great message… Someone has opted, on his own volition, not to play first-class cricket and then he is selected for Test cricket.

READ | India vs England: Dinesh Karthik excited but nervous ahead of first Test

How do you see the series shape up?

The conditions being so dry in the UK over the last seven or eight weeks is going to even things up a bit. These conditions will be very natural for India players -- hot weather, dry wickets, bone hard outfields, all those things. If we were playing India and want the right conditions, we would prefer to play them in May when the ball is moving around a bit more. The sideways movement might cause them some problems. It’s going to be a very tight series.

What do you think of Indian pacers?

(Ishant) Sharma, I know him well, he has been around. He has been playing for Sussex. So, he has got some experience over here. I quite like (Hardik) Pandya. He looked good to me. He had a bit of carry and pace.

Virat struggled in 2014, and now leads as well.

I am not a believer in the adage captaincy can put pressure on people. It inspires them. I’d expect it to inspire him. Maybe his record is not what he would want it to be here, but he would want to put that right. And if you are a great player, you can put that right, it gives you that added edge.

On Root, Kohli comparisons…

Both are world class players. Joe has been playing well in one-day cricket recently, but has not got a hundred recently in Tests (11 Tests without a ton). Lot of fifties and he still averages 50 (52.28), which is excellent.

England's Joe Root prepares to bat during a training session. (AP)

We need him to score hundreds. We we need our players to score hundreds and India need theirs to. In Tests, you got to get a big score.

Virat is a very, very skilful player; he is successful in all formats, which shows he adapts his game well. He has got an all-round game and is going to be a big target for England bowlers because always if you dismiss the captain it can affect the team a bit. If we don’t get him out early, then we can expect some big scores from him.

Virat pulling out of Surrey stint due to injury.

I don’t think that will make any difference. But when he signed I thought that will be good for him, experience under his belt in English conditions to prepare.

First Published: Jul 29, 2018 09:21 IST